GenCon 2010, which is a gamer convention, will occur without my presence this year. Maybe 2011 will prove to be the year I can attend.
Monday, November 30, 2009
GenCon 2010, which is a gamer convention, will occur without my presence this year. Maybe 2011 will prove to be the year I can attend.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Shadow of the Ghost will be republished via CreateSpace very soon. The best part of this is that the price will be reduced considerably.
GenCon Indy 2010: At this time, it looks like I will be found on Author's Avenue at GenCon Indy next August. I will have the entire Lord of Chaos trilogy with me as well. Depending on my inspiration, kaben nine may be there also. My first priority is to complete Vengeance so kaben may not make it by then.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
kaben nine is once again out of the storage bin. I'll be working on that story on and off while I mull over how I want chapters of Vengeance to go. I probably won't post any more of that here. Those that want to read it will have to wait until it is completed.
I'll be back with more news, stamps and autographs more often again. Thanks to all that have purchased my books. I hope you have enjoyed the journey and will continue to enjoy it as the rest of the story unfolds.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Today, instead of a stamp, I'll post an autograph. Many years ago, I was at a Sci-Con in Virginia Beach. Among the guest was this gentlemen. He was very pleasant to speak with and signed two books for me.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Anyway, I managed 1,500 words for Vengeance of the Ghost. Most of it was forced and will probably have to be rewritten or deleted altogether. Then Simon mentioned something about how the stream in The Garden reacted to Tal and things started flowing a little. On top of that, Arienna is starting to show interest in Mistress, though she doesn't know who Mistress is just yet. Arienna is just intrigued that Mistress was able to pull off what she did and wants to take her home as a new pet, so to speak. We'll see how that turns out. There may not be enough of Mistress left to take home. I haven't decided yet.
I have decided to post a stamp or autograph or both from my collection from now on. Tonight it will be a stamp. It's Austrian, ANK # 1. I'm not sure if it is the handmade paper variety or the machine-made paper variety, so the date of issue is either 1850 or 1854. One day, I'll learn how to tell the difference.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
kaben nine is still hanging around in his torture chamber. His host likes to label all his toys with his brand and kaben nine is no exception. I am enjoying composing this tale. The support characters are proving to be a lot of fun to work with.
There was a comment on yesterday's blog that requested a picture of my favorite Austrian stamp so far. I had planned to put a stamp here, but for a different reason. The one pictured below is not very valuable. As a matter of fact, it could probably used as postage in Austria without much financial loss. The reason I chose this one is that it was issued on May 8, 1958. This stamp is the same age as I am.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
I neglected to keep track of the time during this organization task. When I finally closed the book, happy that my collection was stored in chronological order, it was already 2 am. The rest of the night I devoted to writing. Since I have set a daily quota for Vengeance of the Ghost, that's the story I delved into. Chapter 8 is coming along well. After ending Legacy of the Ghost the way I did, I don't want to keep my readers waiting too long to find out what happens next. As a result, kaben nine did not make any progress today. At least he was nice about it and left me alone.
Monday, July 13, 2009
All the while I was fighting the end of Chapter 7, kaben nine was being a good little boy and hanging quietly in his torture chamber. I'm not sure if he knew he would formally meet his target for the first task tonight and was delaying it, or if he just wanted to be like the other story and be stubborn. Regardless, his story progressed as well.
The amazon.com price of Legacy of the Ghost has finally dropped to $11.99 which I am very happy with. It's much better than the price of Shadow.
One final note, as of today, I've seriously started pursuing a degree in applied mathematics. I really love math and upper level math teachers seem to be the only type with any demand in this less than wonderful economy. Before I begin, I think it best to take a refresher in pre-calculus and calculus. I'm looking forward to that.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Then kaben nine decided he had waited long enough so I had to deal with him. He has this sneaky way of telling me about chapters I'm not ready to write so that I'll finish the one I'm on. I only managed 600+ words on his story, but I have the feeling that he'll be out of that torture chamber tomorrow night. Then it will be a short visit with granny for him.
For those following Samaya's blog, (it's linked on the side there), she has a great picture of a fire that happened on her mountain some 8 years ago. When I saw it, I was immediately reminded of what Ky did to LaVerran Keep in the first chapter of Shadow of the Ghost.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
Vengeance of the Ghost gained another 2100 words in length. kaben nine left me alone for the most part while I wrote, though he did remind me of some things while I played in the weeds.
Finally, thanks Samaya for posting the pictures. That mountain of yours is awesome.
Friday, July 10, 2009
kaben nine is also starting to stir. Apparently, he's been hanging around in a torture chamber long enough and wants out. I might have to finish that chapter tomorrow in between working on Chapter 7 of Vengeance and playing in the weeds. All in all, I think it is a pretty productive week.
Thanks to all that commented on kaben nine and "The Maze." It's really a great feeling to know when someone is reading.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Monday, July 6, 2009
Now, the main feature:
The late afternoon shadows hid Ky as he stood within a stand of pine trees looking at the farm he had once called home. That changed when he found Little Ky shredded just beyond the orchard. From Ky's vantage, only the tops of the pear and apple trees in the orchard could be seen over the roof of the farmhouse. Ky did not go to the farm anymore. Illya somehow knew when he was there no matter how carefully he hid himself. She always came to find him. It was not that he did not like Illya. It was more a matter of not knowing how to speak with her anymore. Little Ky's loss had opened an emotional rift between them. Every time Ky saw Illya, he also saw the pain in her expressive brown eyes. Ky did not know what to do about that pain. There was also the promise he made almost fifteen years prior.
“I'll bring him back. I will find a way,” he had said to her.
Ky had made lots of promises and kept few. This promise was the only one that bothered him. That was something else he did not understand. He shrugged and sat beside the trunk of a pine and pulled the parchment and quill Sage Tas'lin had given him from his shoulder pack. He was here because Sage Tas'lin told him to come here. The Sage had told him that before and Ky went elsewhere to complete the assignments, but somehow the Sage always knew when Ky did not go where he was sent. So Ky came to the farm, near the farm anyway. He frowned and unrolled the parchment.
Go back to your home, the farm, and compose ten questions that are not related to how to bring Little Ky back.
Sage Tas'lin explained as he sent Ky away, “You need to learn much more about other things before you can solve the problem with Little Ky. When you finish this assignment, bring it back to me and we will start without Little Ky as a distraction.”
Ky had learned other things. Very few of those other things were taught to him by Sage Tas'lin though. Most he found out for himself. The only thing Ky found useful in what the Sage taught him was the ability to read and write elven and human. At first, Ky did not see the value in learning reading and writing. He had done well not knowing all this time, why should he learn now? Then, as he struggled with the basics, he found books and scrolls in the library that explained magic, fighting techniques and many other things that intrigued him. Ky decided to learn to read and delved into it with single-minded resolve. Writing came to Ky when he learned that he could not trust his mind to remember all that he read.
Ky looked at the assignment again and his frown deepened. Why would the Sage send him to where Little Ky was, or what remained of him anyway, to write questions that had nothing to do with Little Ky? He set the parchment aside and turned his attention back to the farm. He could see the small graveyard set behind the house. Four bodies rested within the fenced in area; Illya's father and mother, Illya, and Little Ky. Only three of those bodies were actually dead. Little Ky still lived. Looking at the graves reminded Ky that he wanted to hide them. The protective barrier around the farm would stop anyone who wished to do harm to those that lived there. Ky was not sure if it would keep grave-robbers out. The Old Man had taught him the spell, but he had disappeared about a week before Little Ky was attacked so Ky could not ask the Old Man if it would.
Ky wished the Old Man were still around. He had learned far more from the Old Man than from Sage Tas'lin and what he learned from the Old Man was actually useful. Ky pulled his knees up and hugged them. He rested his chin on his knee and then let his surroundings become a blur of insignificance as he remembered some of the Old Man's lessons.
“Keep your spells simple,” the Old Man had said. “The more complicated they are, the more energy they will drain from you and the better the chance they will mess up. Simple is best.”
Ky had taken that advice to heart. Most of the spells he cast used one or two words coupled with a visual image of what Ky wished to happen. Sage Tas'lin scoffed at the spells Ky cast. The Sage believed that the spells should have complication so that the exact desired effect would occur.
Another time, the Old Man said, “Use something to focus your magic. That will ease the drain on you when you use magic.”
Ky experimented for several weeks with different objects to focus his spells through. Most of what he tried burned up after three of four casts. Gems lasted much longer. He also found that some gems would not burn up with certain types of magic. Emeralds would cast heal spells indefinitely, or they had so far. Rubies and diamonds were best for fire based spells. Blue sapphires worked best for lightning. The Old Man had often paid Ky in gems, as had Lord Maltar. Until Ky found that they could be used as focus items, he had little use for them and had simply put them in a box hidden in the barn. He had quite a large supply now.
Ky's mind drifted to his time in the library at Alle-Stecan. Most of the spells he knew, he learned there. The verbal portion of the spells was in the High-Elven language. The language was a struggle for Ky and some of the words must have been shared between High-Elven and his own native tongue because his throat would tighten, refusing to let him say them. They were also Sage Tas'lin type spells; very complicated. Ky learned to alter them to his needs. He changed the verbal portion to two or three words, experimenting with the original incantation to find the words that were essential. Most of the spells did not behave as they were described in the tomes and scrolls, but, Ky found that he could derive some use from them.
Glancing at the small graveyard, Ky picked up the parchment and began listing his spells, looking for one that would serve his needs now. He needed a spell that would conceal the graves from all save Illya and himself. He eliminated the various invisibility spells. Ky had already encountered several elves that could see through these and imagined that others could as well. After several hours, he had listed all the spells he knew. He sat reading over the list for a while. Finally, his attention focused on the maze spell. It had promise, but required a lot of magical energy to cast. Someone who could trace magical energy would be able to find it.
After staring at the graves for a while longer, Ky turned away from the farm and walked to the other side of the copse of pines. Nothing would distract him here. By this time, the sun had set and the sky above filled with stars. Ky spent an hour watching them as they slowly wandered above him. He wondered what they were and why they also traveled but never seemed to get anywhere. Sooner or later, they could always be found where their journeys began.
Ky had decided earlier that he would not be returning to Sage Tas'lin. He was not going to complete this last assignment until he started wondering about the stars. He would write his questions and send them to the Sage. He would never return for the Sage's answers though. Ky pulled a clean piece of parchment from his pack and wrote:
What are stars?
Why do stars always wander but never get anywhere?
Where do stars go during the day?
After writing these questions, he placed the parchment on the ground beside him and continued to think about the maze spell. As he thought, his senses watched the wilderness. He concentrated on what he had learned from the Old Man. The first thing he considered was what he would use as a focus item. The maze spell would be extremely draining, especially since it would have to be hidden and cover a large area. While considering this, he thought of another question. It was one he had asked the Old Man many years before and searched for the memory.
"What is magic?" Ky asked, seated cross-legged on the side counter in the Old Man's alchemy shop.
"Magic," the Old Man murmured. He finished trimming the herbs Ky had brought him and placed them in the jar he had waiting before saying more. When he finished, he leaned against the front counter and absently wiped his hands on a small towel as he explained, "Magic is an alteration of the natural rhythms that surround us. Elemental magic is the most prominent. There are four kinds of elemental magic: earth, air, water and fire."
"So when I cast a spell, I'm altering those elements?" Ky asked, leaning forward slightly.
"Usually only one at a time, I would think," the Old Man replied, smiling. "When you become better at magic, you'll be able to feel the natural rhythms around you. A true master weaves his spell into those rhythms so the magic appears natural, or invisible." The Old Man stepped away from the counter and traded his towel for a few gems he had sitting on the shelf. As he handed the gems to Ky, he said, "You have already done that. The protective barrier around the farm uses that type of mastery."
The memory prompted Ky to become more aware of his senses. The wilderness flooded his being with sounds, sights, smells and touches. He forced himself to become a part of his environment, to know its feelings, to find its pulse, to feel its breath. It took quite a lot of effort, but he was rewarded when he found the web that held all of nature together, and more, he found he was a part of that web. Ky was unsure if this ability was unique to him or if anyone could do it. Either way, he remained embedded in the web of nature until late the next afternoon. By then, he knew how to make the maze and he had the remainder of the questions for Sage Tas'lin. The questions, he had learned the answers to while he was one with the web. Ky wondered if the Sage could find them as well. He picked up the parchment and wrote:
Why does the wind blow through some trees sometimes and other trees other times?
Why are the leaves on some trees not green?
Why do some plants flower in the spring, some in the summer and others in the fall?
How do plants you did not plant get into your garden?
How long does a butterfly live?
Why do bumblebees always bore the same size hole in wood?
Then, he added one last question. This one he did not know the answer to and he knew that Sage Tas'lin would not know it either. He did know that by asking it, the Sage would realize that Ky would not be returning.
Why don't my eyes reflect light when the eyes of every other creature in nature do?
Ky folded the parchment and used the spell Sage Tas'lin taught him to send it to the Sage. Then he turned towards the farm. He could not see it through the pines, but he could feel it there. Sage Tas'lin referred to the farm as Ky's home. Ky was not sure what the word 'home' meant, but had the feeling that on this matter, at least, the Sage was correct. He started walking through the pines, intent on finding Illya before she found him. Then, with Illya by his side, he would spend the next few days protecting the graveyard.
Ky found Illya in the kitchen putting on the ribbon that would give her a solid body. He grinned at the surprise in her expression and waited for her to finish.
"Will you walk with me?" Ky asked quietly, tilting his head towards the door.
"Sure," Illya answered, then followed him outside.
As they stepped into the yard, Ky led the way to the small graveyard, explaining, "I'm going to hide the graves. That way no one can disturb them while I look for a way to bring Little Ky back."
Illya followed him silently, trying to find a way to ask if she would be able to find the graves. She did not have to ask, because Ky explained that when they arrived at the graves.
"I know you will want to visit your parents and Little Ky so I am going to make you a part of the maze. You will be able to get here whenever you want when I'm done." Ky paused and searched her expression a moment. "You'll have to stay with me while I set it up though and we won't be able to talk."
Illya smiled and answered, "I hope it takes a long time, even if we can't talk. It's just nice to be with you after all this time."
Even though she was smiling, the sadness still remained in her eyes and Ky saw it. He also saw that her eyes, even as a ghost, reflected light. He quickly turned away murmuring, "Wait here."
Illya waited as Ky immersed himself into the web of nature. It was easier this time and only took him a few moments. Then he walked along the fence of the graveyard, weaving the thread to his needs. He had decided that invisibility was unsatisfactory. Instead, he wove the impression that the area was just a blank extension of the yard. He excluded Illya from this portion knowing that if she could see it before traveling the maze, others might also see it if they came into contact with her. His other option was to isolate the farm completely, but he knew Illya liked visitors, so he chose not to do that. He knew by Illya's expression that he was successful. He grinned and took her hand, leading her away from the graves.
From then on, for the next four days, Ky used the earth as his focus, drawing energy from the soil through his right foot as he altered the web. He used his left foot as his anchor and Illya as his guide to set thousands of starting places for the maze. Ky wove Illya's observations into each anchor. Sometimes it would be a hawk flying over the farm; or a rabbit stealing greens from the garden; or the chair on the farmhouse porch where they used to sit together and watch Little Ky play; or a fire-wing butterfly fluttering nearby; or the orchard where the trees were just beginning to bear fruit; or the flowers Illya loved to plant in front of the farmhouse. Each of those things brought memories of Little Ky into Ky's mind and he wove those memories into the web as well. The maze itself, he wove into the element of fire so that it would light up when Illya searched for it. Each time he set a new anchor, he would wait until Illya told him that she could see the path, then he would move to set another.
Illya enjoyed those four days as well as the memories that she shared with Ky. She did not know if Ky intended to share the memories, but she was happy he did. It had been the longest Ky had stayed at the farm since Little Ky had been taken from them. She knew it would end, but she also knew that Ky was still working on bringing their son back and she accepted it without question. She could wait forever since she was a ghost. She hoped she did not have to wait that long. She also hoped that other ideas, like hiding the graves, would bring Ky back to visit her. She could always tell when he arrived at the farm, but his departures where always sudden, unannounced, and without farewell spoken. No matter how hard she tried to see him on his way, she always failed. This time was no exception. Ky stayed at the farm for one day after the maze was in place, then, while she was preparing to make him breakfast, she felt the emptiness and knew he was gone again. She smiled sadly and put the bowl and food away. They will be ready for his next visit.
© 2009 Tanner Artesz
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Saturday, May 23, 2009
My website has been updated with information on the new release. Links to Legacy of the Ghost will appear when the paperback/hardcover editions become available.
Have a great Memorial Day Weekend. More later...
Thursday, May 21, 2009
It has been a while since I mentioned any music, so here are a couple more bands and my favorite album/CD by them:
Rolling Stones: Goats Head Soup, This came out in the early 1970s when music was becoming an important part of my life. The one song that puts this above all the other albums by The Rolling Stones is: "Dancing with Mr. D."
Rush: Hemispheres. It took a while for me to get used to Geddy Lee's voice. As a result, I prefer Rush's instrumentals though I do enjoy most of their music now. This album has "La Villa Strangiatto" on it. It still remains my all-time favorite Rush song.
More again another time. I'm going back to clean up the beginning of Vengeance of the Ghost.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
There was a time I would fight it; try to remember what the muse plants in my subconscience and struggle to get some rest. That is a losing battle. Now I know that I have to get up, go to the computer and start typing or there will be no peace whatsoever. The muse is going to keep me awake anyway. I may as well be productive rather than frustrated.
Tonight was one of those nights. Two hours ago, I was content with my new cover ideas and thinking some new thoughts for my back cover text while heading to sleep. Now, after frantically typing for the last hour and a half, I'm going to try again for some rest. Vengeance of the Ghost is a little farther along now. A few changes in one of the chapters I thought was done have been made as well. I will have to finish those changes tomorrow. Arienna was taking the story places I did now wish to go. So I put the wench in her place and changed it. (I believe you would catagorize Arienna as a Vixen, Amy.)
Anyway, guten Nacht, or rather guten Morgen. I'll post more as things continue to progress.
Monday, May 18, 2009
Friday, May 15, 2009
Chapter 3. Bear
She had been playing tag with a few of the other children when the news of the wild boy spread through the settlement. Very little was known about the boy except that he had saved the lives of many by killing two hunters. She also heard that he was injured though the details of his injury were reserved to the quiet of the healer's tent.
A hour later, she learned that he lived in the cave downstream. Two of the sentries had followed him. One had returned to lead a healer to the cave. The boy was unconscious and it was deemed safe to approach him. She and quite a few other children had followed the small group that were going to the cave to the edge of the settlement. They were not allowed to go any farther as the wilderness would be dangerous. Today's instance with the two hunters served the parents well when warning the children about danger.
When the small group returned from the cave, they went straight to the elders' tent to discuss what was to be done with the boy. She did not hear anymore about him for several days, though she spent most of her time on that end of the village hoping to catch a glimpse of him. When she returned home for dinner, she found her father preparing to leave for sentry duty. This surprised her as he was out just a week before. Normally, his sentry shifts were once every two weeks.
She watched her father as he prepared his bow and asked, "Why do you have to go tonight?'
He smiled and gently ran his caloused fingers through her hair and answered, "Tonight, my sweet Anna, I will be doing sentry duty at the cave where the little wild boy is staying. He hasn't recovered from his injuries yet and the village elders considered protecting him while he slept would be a good way to pay him back for what he did for us." He planted a kiss on her forehead and asked, "Do you think that's a good thing to do?"
The little girl nodded several times, then asked, "Can I go with you? I really want to see him."
Her father laughed and returned to checking his arrows. "Another time, perhaps. Right now, he is sleeping pretty deep in the cave and you would not be able to see much of anything."
She tilted her head and smiled, her blue eyes sparkling as she said, "Daddy, promise me you'll take me as soon as he is better."
Her father grinned and shook his head. "There is no need for that look," he said. "If we find him safe, I will take you to see him. We think he may be since he only attacked the hunters, but we want to make sure."
"He won't hurt us. I know he won't," Anna said and left her father to help her mother with dinner.
While the wild boy, as the settlers called him, recovered, a small settlement boy was sent to the sewing tent. The healer had said that he was about the same size so the women in the sewing tent began making the wild boy a set of clothing that would fit this settlement boy. They made them a little large so he could grow into them. The clothing was then left just inside the cave where the wild boy would find them.
Two more days came and went before news arrived that the wild boy had awakened. The first thing he did was go to the river and bathe. Afterwards, he lingered on the bank long enough to forage some berries, then returned to the cave. The seamstresses were quite pleased when they learned he had put on the clothing they made for him. That night, one of the sentries brought a plate of food to the cave. As he placed it on a rock near the mouth of the cave, he heard the boy growl. The sentry remained calm as he took a few steps away from the food.
"Food, if you care for any," he said loud enough to be heard in the cave. The he moved up the hill to his post.
There were four spots chosen by the sentries that could be seen from the settlement and also had a view of the mouth of the cave. Two of these were occupied at all times. The sentries marveled that the wild boy always knew which spots were manned when he left his cave. After a few weeks, the sentries continued to watch the cave, more out of curiosity than necessity. The wild boy proved to be quite capable of taking care of himself.
The raised rock where the first sentry placed the food became a trading spot between the settlement and the wild boy. Usually, the settlement left useful items for him, mostly food. Sometimes he would leave things for the settlement, small game, smooth stones from the riverbed, or anything else the wild boy thought the settlement might enjoy.
After a month had passed, Anna's father fulfilled his promise to her and took her with him on sentry duty. He expected she would catch a few minutes sight of him before he disappeared into the forest for the rest of the day. Instead, he stayed close to the cave that day.
Anna and her father watched as the boy stepped from his cave and dropped into a low crouch, sniffing the air. He remained there for a moment, then crept back into the cave. Anna's father knew that something bothered the boy and pulled his daughter behind the rock and waited, watching the cave and holding tight to Anna. He peered behind the boulder and watched as the boy searched the hill around where his rock stood. After a few minutes of searching and testing the air, he turned away, starting down the hill to the river.
"What's wrong?" Anna whispered.
Her father waited until he was sure the boy would not turn back, then returned to the top of the rock. "You," he whispered back. "He sensed you up here and had to make sure you were not a danger."
They watched silently until the boy waded into the river. Then Anna's father explained. "We can stay on the rock until he decides to come back to the cave. Then we will hide again. He knows we are here, but doesn't want to see us. If we are visible, he won't come back to the cave until very late at night."
"What's he doing?" Anna asked, moving to the side so she could see better.
"He does this everyday." He absently pointed to the river and explained, "He goes to the river and washes his clothing with sand from the riverbed, then he will hang them on that tree." He pointed to a small birch that grew very near the river. "As they dry, he washes himself. When he's done, he goes to the other side of the river and eats some of the berries off those bushes there." He pointed again and waited until Anna nodded. "Sometimes he'll lie in the sun over there a while, other times he comes back, gets dressed and wanders away into the woods."
"What happens then?" Anna asked as she watched the wild boy use the sand to clean his shirt.
"After that, we'll just have to wait and see. This is the only predictable thing he does," he answered as he ruffled Anna's hair.
Anna was very pleased that he chose to lie in the sun this day. She thought he looked so small and frail and worried that he might be lonely. He remained there until the worst of the day's heat had faded, sometimes lying near the river, sometimes foraging for berries and sometimes sitting in the shade. Afterwards, he returned to the river. Anna expected him to swim across and get his clothing before heading off on some wildly dangerous excursion, instead, he searched the riverbed looking for rocks. Most of what he gathered, he looked at for a few moments, then threw back. A few, he placed on the bank in a neat pile.
After he had collected five nice stones, he returned to the birch tree and dressed. Anna's father pulled her behind the stone again. This time he allowed her to peer around the side as the boy climbed the hill to his cave.
When he drew near the cave he stopped and looked at the rock they were hiding behind. Anna felt her father's hand tighten on her shoulder. She saw his eyes clearly for the first time then as he extended the hand that held the stones in their direction before entering the cave. His eyes melted her young heart. She believed she had never seen, nor would ever see a sight so beautiful.
After a few moments, her father turned her to face him. "There is a large stone by the mouth of the cave. You can reach it without going in the cave. On top of it, you'll see the stones." He peered into his daughters blue eyes and smiled. "Do not linger and do not go into the cave. Come right back when you have his gift for you."
Anna felt her hands tremble as her eyes widened. "Do you think he's waiting there for me?"
"You will not see him," he answered shrugging. "If you do, all of us sentries will be greatly surprised." He tightened his grip on her shoulders slightly and repeated, "Do not linger and do not enter the cave. Do you understand?"
Words failed Anna so she nodded. When her father released her, she crept down the hill slowly. She saw the large rock and the five stones the boy had left for her and quickly picked them up, then backed away as her father had told her. Then she turned and ran back up the hill to where her father waited.
When she returned to the settlement, she placed the stones under her pillow. During the day, she placed her stuffed bear beside her pillow to protect the stones. Anna was allowed to visit the stone with her father every month after that. He no longer gave an indication of knowing she was there, but she knew he sensed her. She believed he would stop his daily bathing when the fall weather arrived, but he did not. She also noticed that he looked thinner, though his arms and legs began to show the muscle he had been developing during his daily outings.
As the months passed, she wondered how he could live without friends. He had no one to speak with or play with. She thought he must be very lonely. She had never seen him smile or heard him laugh. She could think of no other children that she could say the same thing about. She asked her father and he just shook his head sadly. That is when the stones began speaking to her in her dreams. In one of these dreams, she saw herself alone except she was not truly alone. She had her bear and she was happily playing with him. Then she saw the boy alone in his cave. He did not have a bear. Anna believed that she was given the task to make him one. The next morning, she told her father about it.
Her father chewed thoughtfully on his eggs, then said, "I guess you need to find out what materials you need to make the bear. The women in the sewing tent can help you there." He smiled at her then added, "Make a list and let me know. I'll see what I can find for you."
During the next week, Leanna spent most of her time planning the bear. She wanted it to have black hair like his and dark eyes that were large and beautiful. She also wanted it to be as soft as possible so he could hug it in his sleep and it would warm him and make him feel loved.
Then her next visit day came and the bear project was put on hold for the day. They waited for him to come out of the cave for his daily appointment in the river even though the weather was chilly and the day overcast. Her father assured her he would still bathe. Anna just shook her head in disbelief.
This day was different though. Usually when the boy stepped from his cave, he stopped for a moment to determine where the sentries were hidden. Today, he appeared quickly and crouched low searching the river farther downstream. Anna's father sent the warning signal to the settlement at once then readied his bow. He motioned to Anna to get behind the rock and waited as she did.
By then, the boy had gone, silently moving down the hill before climbing into a tree. Anna saw him pick up a large stone before climbing the tree and wondered what he would do with it. None of them moved for several moments. Then they saw the boy toss the rock into the river. That's when they caught sight of the hunter.
Anna heard the boy's voice for the first time that day and it terrified her. As soon as the rock hit the water, the hunter turned towards the splash. The boy leaped onto the hunter's back, a high-pitched cross between a growl and a snarl broke the silence. Seconds later, the hunter lay dead on the riverbank and the boy turned and headed back to the cave, his mouth, chin and shirt soaked in the hunter's blood. Before she got a really clear view, her father had taken her into his arms and tightly held her as she sobbed into his shoulder.
She had heard of the two other hunters that he killed during the summer and wondered how a child so small could achieve such a feat. Now she knew. She saw that he was like a wild animal protecting its den. During that next few months she had many nightmares. Most of them, she pictured the boy with large fangs and blood-soaked claws ripping the throats from the settlement people. The stones which had once spoken to her so sweetly in her dreams seem to have lost their magic. It came back though, and she realized it was there all along. She was just too terrified to hear them. They helped her fight back the dreams that tortured her now.
She did not return to the rock until late the next spring. She saw by his clothing that the boy had grown a little. The sleeves of his shirt and the legs of his pants rode high on his wrists and ankles. His hair, so black, was much longer and wild looking. He performed his daily ritual in the river, then dressed and disappeared into the forest. She did not see him again that day. That night, the stones reminded her of the bear in her dreams. They showed her pictures of him lying alone in the back of the cave and she felt the loneliness and saw the void in his arms where the bear should be.
After the death of the hunter, she had forgotten all about the bear. Now that the stones had reminded her, she resumed the project. It took months for her to complete the bear. Leanna put all the love she could into every stitch. When it was finally finished, she moved the stones to her toy shelf and placed the bear on top of them, hoping they would like it. Then she tried to find a way to let the stones know that she wanted to give it to him face to face.
Several nights passed without the stones talking to her in her dreams. When the dream finally came, she was told she would have to convince her parents that it was okay to give the wild boy the bear face to face. Anna was afraid to tell her parents about the dreams and the stones. She had never heard of anyone else having dreams like hers and she did not think her parents would believe her. Another winter came and went before the stones finally convinced her to tell them. She told them everything while they sat eating breakfast.
Her parents quietly listened to the whole story. When she was finished, he father said, "Let me borrow the stones for a few nights. If they speak to your mother and I, then I will take you to the cave and wait as you present the bear to the boy."
That night, Anna gave each of her parents two of the stones hoping they would speak to her mother and father as they had spoken to her. No more was said about the bear for the next couple weeks. Leanna guessed that the stones would speak to her parents when they were ready. Then, one night after dinner, her parents told her to wait at the table while they cleaned up. Afterwards, her father and mother told her what the stones told them.
Anna was going to deliver the bear that night. It was her father's turn to watch the cave and he would wait nearby for her. It was dark when they arrived at the cave. The cave itself appeared to be a black maw in the side of the hill and Anna almost left the bear on the rock out of fear.
Her father whispered to her, "Take your time and let your feet guide you." He handed her one of the stones and finished, "The stone will keep you safe." He hugged her then and smiled. "I'll be right here waiting for you."
She entered the cave and slowly walked to the back. As her eyes adjusted, she could just make out the outline of the boy's body lying on a blanket off to one side. She quietly crept to the edge of the blanket and knelt there waiting. She did not have to wait long. The boy sat up and looked at her, his head slightly tilted the way she had seen other boys do when they were curious about something.
As she held out the bear, she watched his expression, hoping to see him smile. He accepted her gift, hugged it and then smiled at her. She left him then, wanting to remember that smile forever but as she got to the mouth of the cave, the stone stopped her. It wanted her to go back and hold him while he slept. She looked at her father who sat nearby. He smiled and nodded as if he knew. She took a step back into the cave and looked at her father again. His smile told her he did know.
She returned to the blanket and waited a moment. Since the boy did not move, she crawled beside him and lie down, snaking her arm under his neck and pushing his head onto her shoulder. She gently ran her fingers along his spine at the base of his neck until she fell asleep.
When she woke the next morning, the boy and the bear were gone. She knew they would not return. She found her father resting close by. Together they returned to the settlement to let the others know that the wild boy had left.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Amy Lane did a spectacular bit of work with this book. I thouroughly enjoyed the first of the series and started this one believing I would enjoy it as well. With the first one, I was able to put it away and go on with other things in life. This one was not that type of book. Once I started, I found I couldn't stop reading it. I had to know what would happen next and I had to know it now!
The Moon family, including all the little adopted offshoots of it, became my family more so here than in the first book. This in mind, I found the book to be extremely emotional. Whatever the Moons felt, I felt. This is only done with spectacular writing.
There is also plenty of action in this book. The snow cat (Torrant) returns, and along with Aylan (his 'adopted' brother) and some new friends, they take on the Consort of Clough, both politically and in the Goddess ghetto while trying to protect them from the guards.
I don't particularly like heavy romance scenes. When I find them, if they go on too long or are too detailed, I lose interest in the story. I vaguely remember two such scenes in this story, but they were neither too long or too graphic to distract me. Both of these scenes enhanced the development of the characters involved and were very well portrayed.
If you like action, characters you really get to know, and allow your emotions to escape to the world the author presents to you, you will like this book.
Next on my to-read list is: The Legend of Witch Bane by Kevis Hendrickson. I'll post that review when I'm finished with it.
I'm waiting for one more editor to finish with Legacy. In the meantime, I'm formatting the interior. When that is done, I will attempt to do something with the cover.
Monday, April 27, 2009
My official website
The major editing of Legacy of the Ghost has been completed. The editors and I are making one final read-through to pick up anything that we may have missed. I've also started working on the formatting of the book. This one will be published at Creat Space.
Having finished reading W.I. Investigations, Vol. 1-4, by Samaya Young, I wrote a review for Amazon and Goodreads. I'm posting it here for those that don't see it there:
I thouroughly enjoyed reading W.I. Investigations. Samaya has a gift for capturing the reader and, once captured, holding them until the conclusion of the case. Vol. 1-4 includes four seperate cases with separate teams that are both interesting and unique. I found this heightened my pleasure of the book as it made it quite easy to avoid boredom as each team handled their case in their own fashion. Samaya did a great job of making each team quite different from the others.
Of the four cases, "Hero" is my favorite, followed by "Shape Shifter," though Willow and Vin were my favorite team. All for cases are original and well told.
The only things I found that distracted me were: a. All the characters inevitably have looks that could only be found in fashion magazines, with the exception of one, Wally; b. I would have liked a couple of them to have been longer with more detail; and c. Knowing that the calvary arrived in time to save Ashley and Elyse from the very beginning of the story took some of the pleasure out of reading it. Choosing a different scene for the introductory 'insert', maybe the flight to hide in the canyon, would have increased the suspence and made the story far more enjoyable.
Overall, I believe the positives of captivating tales and interesting and varied characters far outweighs the negatives. I fully recommend this book.
The next book on my list to read is Bitter Moon II - Triane's Son Reigning, by Amy Lane. I really enjoyed the first in the set and look forward to delving into this edition! More later as things develop.
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
Chapter 2. Wild
"There is no need to go to your transport. Anything you will need will be found within the forest."
"There's a hunting knife there and some mending supplies that would help me with this shirt," he answered, adjusting one of the rolled up sleeves for emphasis.
"Forget the transport. It will not be there when you start your tasks. You will need to learn to use what is available in the wild. Start now. This forest holds your food, water, and shelter. All you have to do is learn where to find them and how to use them. Before you start the thirteen tasks I will assign you, you must train yourself in the ways of nature."
"Will I be returning to adulthood to complete your tasks?" he asked, pulling his knees up to his chest and hugging them. He suddenly felt small and inadequate.
"No. The tasks will not be possible by an adult. As a child, you will be able to get into places adults will not have access to. I have faith in you or I would not have chosen you."
Kaben nine rested his chin on his knee, tilting his head slightly as he asked, "When I finish these tasks, will the way be changed?"
"The way is no longer your concern. Kaben seven, who you brought to safety, will be the instrument to bring the way to an end. The way will be corrected long before you are finished with what you need to do."
Kaben nine stood and walked to the stream and took a drink before asking, "If fixing the way is not my task, what is?"
"The dream I sent you as you rested showed you many of the places you will be going. You will be dealing with entities that would cause serious damage in the future if they are not stopped. Do not worry about that now. Now you must learn to survive on your own."
"I thought you were going to keep me alive while I do these tasks," kaben nine stated as he sat on the stream bank and hugged his knees again.
"Yes. I will keep you alive. That is all I will do for you though. You will need to deal with pain, sickness, hunger and other things that I will have no control over. For those you must be prepared. If you aren't then you will fail your tasks and hundreds of thousands of innocent people will suffer."
"So what do I do now," kaben nine asked, frowning.
"Learn. I will set you on the path by saying that you need to find food and shelter before you do anything else. I will be with you while you learn but you will not hear from me again until you are ready to begin your tasks."
Kaben nine remained by the stream a while longer. He had already begun to doubt whether he would be able to succeed. He did not like the sound of pain, sickness and hunger. None of that had ever intruded on his sterile world prior to this. His mind rebelled against having to deal with them now, especially in this small, weak and fragile body.
The voice did not come to reassure him. He felt alone and deserted. Finally, after nearly an hour, the first pangs of hunger forced him to his feet in search of food. He considered going to the settlement where he left the four kaben the day before but felt that he would not be allowed to find it. His training had begun and he had to go through with it.
Crossing the stream, he walked deeper into the forest, carefully searching his surroundings for something that resembled food. He realized then that he had no idea what food would look like out here in the forest. All his life, his meals came from the wall unit. They were prepared and carefully balanced to provide all that was needed by his body to stay healthy. He doubted that he would find a wall unit anywhere within the forest.
After hours of wandering he began to feel the real pain of hunger. The feeling was new to him and he disliked it. His mind told him how unfair the voice was being, remaining hidden and not helping him did not seem the best way for him to learn things. Finally, he began experimenting with different leaves. He tried to ignore the taste as he chewed them and sent them into his stomach which cried out for more with each leaf he ate. Then he found some berries and to his surprise, these tasted good.
The berries taught him his first lesson. He had been so happy finding something he enjoyed eating that he gorged himself. Before long he was sick, throwing up most of what he had just ingested. He wanted to cry, but did not know how. The way had taken tears from him years ago. Instead, he collapsed beside a hollow tree, buried his head in his knees and waited to die.
Nearby rustling woke him. He did not intend to sleep, but his body shut down on him. Now, someone or something was nearby and its movements in the bushes had awakened him. He searched through the gloom to find the source of the sound, trying to keep as still as he could. A large animal with black fur and clawed paws stood on the opposite side of the berry bush eating the berries. The creature terrified him. He had never seen a wild animal before and knew absolutely nothing about them.
It angered him as well. It was eating the only thing he had found fit to eat. He sat glaring at it, willing it to go away and leave his food alone. The creature ignored him and ate its fill before slowly turning away and walking into the forest gloom. As soon as kaben nine could see it no more, he scurried to the berry bush hoping to find that the creature had left him something to fill his empty stomach.
The creature left quite a few berries behind and kaben nine soon lost his anger. He did not eat as much as he had earlier, just enough to end the feeling of hunger. The next thing he had to contend with was the temperature. Apparently, the forest had no climate control unit to keep things comfortable.
He set off into the forest again looking for shelter. As he walked he wondered about the animal he had seen. He wondered if all the animals in the forest ate berries. He doubted this. Sooner or later he imagined he would come across something that would consider him a good meal. This thought prompted him to search for something to use as a weapon. He settled on a stick about three feet long and used it as a walking staff.
During his travels, he found a river and decided to follow it for a while. He traveled upstream, searching the banks for a suitable place to call home. The forest abounded with all manner of berries and nuts along the bank of the river. The river itself provided water. He thought his life would be relatively easy if shelter could be found nearby.
After a couple hours of following the river, he found an area that traveled through a gorge. The waters of the river were quite violent here and very little ground could be found on the river's bank. He traveled inland a short distance until he located a place where he could climb up to the top of the gorge. Keeping the river in sight, kaben nine continued to walk, eating berries and nuts as he traveled. He only ate a handful at a time, just enough to keep the pangs of hunger away. Finally, he found where the river fell into the gorge. A fifty-foot high waterfall roared into the rocks below, calling him to admire the power and beauty of nature.
Kaben nine could not deny the call. He found a place along the gorge's edge to rest and watched the waterfall for over an hour. It was difficult for him to continue his search for shelter after that. He had never experienced anything like this in the city. Finally, he decided that more great things awaited him and he moved on, again following the river.
Above the waterfall, the river widened. In some parts it became very shallow and would be easy to cross as it snaked its way around huge rocks that nested in the river's bed. Across from kaben nine, the terrain rose into the foothills of a larger mountain range that he could just barely see through the pines. The terrain on his side of the river remained relatively flat, though the woods were thick with underbrush. Before long, the underbrush prevented him from moving along the bank so kaben nine backtracked until he found one of the shallows and crossed the river to continue his trek.
The wilderness was still new to kaben nine. He had no idea how to read the signs left behind by others. He did not even notice the footprints left behind in the mud. His attention was focused on the hills he traveled beside. It did not take long for him to find a cave up the hill from the river. It had a roof and would provide some shelter if the weather turned. He climbed to it and explored as far as he could on the light from the sun. Although most of it was hard rock, unfit for any semblance of comfort, he did find a small area where the floor was sandy. He returned to the mouth of the cave wanting to gather some food before resting.
That's when he heard the voices. Kaben nine hid in the shadows of the cave and searched the riverbank for the source of the voices. Two men dressed in Hunter's outfits moved along the bank of the river.
“The settlement isn't far,” kaben nine heard one say. “It's best to keep quiet from here on. We can probably take out half of them before they realize what's going on.”
Kaben nine remembered the one hunt in which he had participated. At that time, the inconvenience of having to be in the forest overshadowed the purpose of the hunt. A kaben had run. They went after it and hunted it down, playing with it like a cat would a mouse. He knew these two would do the same with any that survived the initial slaughter. He also remembered the crude weapons that had been trained on him when he delivered the four kaben under him to the other settlement. They would have no chance against the Hunter's armor and photon rifles. His first thought was to try and warn the settlement. He knew this would just make the hunt longer. The two Sartons had to be stopped.
Kaben nine frowned as he took stock in his own situation. He thought about what he might have to give him the advantage. Before he could come up with anything useful, he had to leave the cave to keep the two Hunters in sight. He quietly stalked them, hoping he would think of something before it became too late to act.
He still carried his stick, though that gave him no comfort. Then he remembered the voice. She promised to keep him alive. As he moved closer to the two Hunters, he wondered if that part of her promise had started. He hoped it did. Kaben nine was also familiar with the Hunters armor. He had worn it himself. From long range, the crude weapons would be useless. Close up would be different. He knew where the weak straps were. All he needed was a sharp rock to make the Hunters very vulnerable.
Kaben nine slowly climbed down the hill to the river, keeping the two Hunters in sight. If he were quiet, they would not hear him and if he stayed behind them, they would not see him. Kaben nine depended on those two disadvantages of the armor. He stayed just within the brush-line as he followed them, searching the river bank for a sharp stone.
When the Hunters stopped, kaben nine knew that he had to act. He only had a moment or two before they would attack the settlement. Kaben nine picked up a stone and moved until he was almost beside them. He had not found a sharp stone, so he had to make due with his stick. First, he wanted the photon rifles in the river.
Once he was as close as he dared to get, kaben nine tossed the stone into the river. Both Hunters turned towards the splash, photon rifles at ready. Kaben nine rushed from the undergrowth and hit the closest one as hard as he could behind the Hunter's knees, sending him toppling into the second Hunter. Only one of the rifles made it into the river. The other fell on the bank within reach of both Hunters.
Kaben nine dived for the rifle, but one of the Hunters got it first. As he struggled to his feet, he felt the photon shell rip through his left forearm. Kaben nine's mind exploded in a haze of red pain just as the words "kaben scores two," flashed through his mind. Feral. That would save him. He was an animal, cornered and injured. A high-pitched shrieking snarl exploded from him as he charged the Hunter that desperately worked to recharge the rifle.
The Hunter was strong, but surprised by the charge. Kaben nine hoped to knock him off balance, but only succeeded in climbing the hunter enough to wrap his right arm around the helmet. As kaben nine twisted the helmet, the Hunter slipped on a stone, causing them both to fall into the shallows of the river. The helmet was jarred loose and kaben nine sunk his teeth into the Hunter's throat, biting with all the strength and desperation he could muster.
A gurgling sound, like that made by a partially blocked drain foreshadowed the crimson spray as the Hunter's throat finally yielded to kaben nine's teeth. The boy immediately turned on the second Hunter who slowly cowered away from kaben nine's blood-soaked growl.
The scouts from the settlement had arrived, drawn to the battle by kaben nine's feral cries. They surrounded the Hunter, keeping well away from the boy as they did so. Kaben nine waited as they ordered the Hunter to remove his helmet and place his hands on his head. Kaben nine recognized him and his neatly trimmed blond goatee. He was the head of the settlement Hunter's regiment, the greatest threat to those that lived outside the way.
Without warning, kaben nine attacked him. The Hunter tried to fight back, using the dagger all Hunter's carried on their belts, but the over-sized shirt the boy wore took the brunt of the slash and once again, he locked his teeth on the throat of a Hunter. The Hunter managed to score a long slash along the boy's ribs before his throat was liberated from his neck.
The settlement scouts watched in stunned silence. When kaben nine moved to return to his cave, they gave him room, though one was assigned to follow him. Kaben nine did not care. His vision was a blur of blood sprays, and pain clouded his thoughts. He never could remember how he managed to find the cave again and then, collapse on the sandy portion he called home. When he awoke, sweaty and feverish, he found his wounds tended and a plate of food and skin of water waiting him.
He ate the meal and placed the empty plate and skin on the rocks at the mouth of the cave and returned to his new home. It would be days before he regained enough strength to venture out of the cave again. Each time he woke, fresh food and drink awaited him. The settlement elders had decided that he had been sent by the Mother to watch over them. The tents where the women met and sewed became filled with tales and legends about kaben nine. They made him new clothing which was left for him along with his food.
As the seasons passed, kaben nine became more in tune with the wilderness around him. During his stay in the cave, five more Hunters approached the settlement, only to find their fates matching the first two. Kaben nine never actually saw the people of the settlement after that first day. He knew they were there. He knew they guarded his cave when he slept. He knew they provided for him when he could not provide for himself. Finally, he knew they were learning from him as he learned the ways of nature.
Two years later, one of the settlement children sat near him when he awoke. She was dressed in a pink skirt and blouse and had blond hair with a touch of red in the highlights. Kaben nine stared at her, his eyes wide. He had never seen a girl wearing clothing before and the sight mesmerized him. It was as if the clothing added an aura of magic and mystery to her small frame. The child did not speak but kaben nine could see the awe reflected in her sky-blue eyes. She gave every appearance of being as impressed with him as he was with her.
She crept a little closer, slowly, then held out a stuffed bear with thick black fur that matched his hair. The nose and paws were bare and dark brown. Kaben nine grinned at the little red tongue that hung out slightly beneath the bear's nose. He accepted the gift and found it soft and pleasant to hold. He had not spoken since he arrived here and did not remember how, so he smiled and hugged the bear tight. The little girl's face lit up like a spring morning filled with flowers and sunshine. Then she quickly scampered from the cave.
That night, the voice returned. Kaben nine had suffered illness and pain. He knew cold and loneliness. He also learned how to survive on his own.
"You are ready," was all the voice said as kaben nine lay in the darkness holding the bear that was given him.
He barely remembered the voice just as he barely remembered his life in the city. As he drifted off to sleep, he did know that the purpose for everything that had happened over the past two years would begin when he awoke. He hugged the bear a little tighter and smiled. He was ready.
Moments later the girl came back. Kaben nine remained still, wondering what she would do. He knew who she was by her scent and did not feel threatened by her. He heard her move closer, then felt her as she lay down beside him. He let her put her arm under his neck and cradle his head on her shoulder. Kaben nine thought this to be a gift from the voice for completing his training and accepted it as such. The comfort of the girl's shoulder seemed the perfect way to end his old life and begin the tasks that faced him. He drifted into a peaceful sleep hopefully wondering if he would receive more such gifts at the completion of each task.
©2009 Tanner Artesz
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Something like that.
I got an interesting question about Karnak. He is the thantor god in the Lord of Chaos Trilogy. He is also the leader of the Council of Darkness. He comes across as being very honorable, which he is. He is also very evil. The alignment of the characters in my story and, the way they lean as far as light and dark are concerned, is loosely based on the system set up in the early D&D role-playing game. The three basic alignments are good, neutral and evil. These are coupled with whether they are chaotic or lawful. Karnak falls in the 'lawful evil' catagory. He will honor his word, but usually will only give his word when it ultimately suits his own purposes. When the Council of Darkness decided to join The Nine, they, under Karnak's leadership decided it would be easier to follow along with what The Nine were doing, since they had a good start on things and were after the same goal, namely, stop Rachk'sha.
Some of the other characters and their alignments:
- Ky: true chaotic. He has no good or evil tendancies and cares nothing for balance.
- Simon: chaotic good.
- Arienna: lawful evil
- Archos: chaotic good
- Fury: chaotic evil
- Rachk'sha: neutral with evil tendancies
- The Old Man (Tasenta-Somar) neutral with good tendancies
- Delmaria: chaotic good
- Selia: lawful good
- Symplex: neutral good
- Ky II: chaotic with some good tendancies
- Tal: lawful good
- Eleana: neutral with some evil tendancies
One band for tonight:
Queen: Sheer Heart Attack: I can find many songs on all the Queen albums that I like, but this one has always been the one I go to when I want a full album of pleasure. As with all Queen albums, there is a great deal of versatility scattered among the tracks. Favorite songs, just about all of them.